Amazon's Bezos unveils $2 bn philanthropic fund

Bezos Amazon board visiting Washington but no headquarters announcement planned

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to be Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's arch-nemesis, so it only makes sense that she would have something to say about the entrepreneur's $2 billion charitable fund toward homelessness and education.

The world has been waiting for a major philanthropy announcement from Jeff Bezos for over a year. "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

Bezos is worth $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a sum mostly derived from the about 16 percent stake in Amazon that he owns. "The child will be the customer". With #PJammin, scores of Amazon employees joined their boss to support the cause and drive attention to raise awareness.

The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon's e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of U.S. online retail sales and almost five percent of all retail spending.

More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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"The answer is very simple", Bezos told David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club, when asked about the topic.

Many Twitter users agreed with that reasoning. "If billionaires like Bezos were properly taxed then we wouldn't need billionaires like Bezos to sweep in and "rescue" people failed by our underfunded systems," one wrote. When Seattle passed a tax in May on large companies to fight the city's growing homelessness crisis, Amazon balked and even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its headquarters.

Bezos's personal wealth has soared with the value of Amazon, whose stock price has doubled over the past year with its expansion into new sectors and geographies.

The Bezos gift is one of the biggest single donations ever announced for preschools, if not the biggest, said Avo Makdessian, director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Centre for Early Learning.

He has also been criticized for not contributing his fortune to philanthropy like other billionaires have, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett.

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